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Boarding for sixth form, advice needed

(19 Posts)
brightandbeauiful Tue 03-May-16 22:20:36

We live abroad in a developing world country, and my son will sit iGCSEs at an international day school here in 2017. He is keen to return to the UK and board for sixth form, but I have no experience of what to look for, or where to start!

Preferences (non-binding) are:
-Strong in performing arts, especially modern/rock/recording or music IT facilities rather than chorister tradition
-Christian ethos
-Wales/South West region
-Variety of outdoor activities, not just team ball sports

I'd really welcome your advice on where I should start looking, or any personal recommendations..thanks from halfway around the world!

MsMargaretHale Wed 04-May-16 08:24:51

I would start by asking friends and aquaintances with DC at UK boarding schools. They will be your best source of accurate - warts and all- information. Mumsnet is not bad either! School prospectuses all present a very similar picture.

If you are abroad, you will need full boarding and decent access to airports which offer regular flights to your country - unless you have family in the area who are going to take your DC for the weekends/night before school starts. Think through the logistics.

Look at this site

And get a copy of the Good Schools Guide.

How academic is your son? What are his predicted IGCSE grades? Many sixth forms are quite selective. So no point in aiming for a very selective school if your DS is not expecting As and A*s.

Once you have narrowed the field, start threads on here about the individual schools.

You do need to go and visit with your son. If you are on another continent you can get a family member/friend with a DC of your son's age to do a first sift for you. Talk to the individual schools. The service you get from Admissions offers an interesting insight.

happygardening Wed 04-May-16 09:08:57

I've already posted on your other thread, There aren't many full or even any full boarding only schools that I can think of off the top of my head in Wales or the south west, others may suggest some. You could look at here I don't really know anything about it,

lifeisunjust Wed 04-May-16 12:29:57

Sexeys is full boarding in south west.

homebythesea Wed 04-May-16 13:02:20

Why does it need to be south west- proximity to family? It will be a ball ache for travelling to and from home.

The performing arts aspect made me immediately think of Hurtwood House in Surrey- loads of overseas pupils, 6th form only so all students starting fresh and a strong specialism in all creative things and in particular offer the technical side of performing as well as the stage performances.

Calamara Wed 04-May-16 13:16:09

Atlantic College in South West Wales might be worth a look.

NewLife4Me Wed 04-May-16 13:20:50

I'm not sure if it's still the same but you could look at Ampleforth College near York.
I know it may not be your area but they had a very strong performing Arts dept at one time.
It is religious too, RC I believe.

brightandbeauiful Wed 04-May-16 13:46:27

home all the grandparents live in the South West, so as the rest of us are a 10 hour plane trip away, it would be nice (for him and us) to know there are family not too far away in case of emergency, for Sunday lunch, half term etc.

Sexeys is a state boarding school, right? anyone had good/bad experience of it?

I'll look at Hurtwood, and Ampleforth, thanks

BathTangle Wed 04-May-16 13:49:20

Millfield might be an option? (Somerset)

Have also heard good things about Sexey's: it is indeed state boarding /day. We have friends who are moving house to be close to it for their DCs.

lifeisunjust Wed 04-May-16 14:35:26

If you can find a school which offers everything you are looking for but not in the south-west, then I would urge you to consider that over a less well matched school in the south-west.

At my son's boarding school, students are allowed home (at no reduction) for most weekends. Few children go home in the lower years and my son says not a single 6th former - 150 of them - goes home at weekends. There is simply too much going on inside the school to make visiting family more interesting!

Half term it would be nothing to get on a train to the grandparents in the south-west.

I only know Sexeys from 2 visits. Very quiet little town, but it's 60% boarding including increasing percentage of EU nationals. Their academic standards are very high, will beat many private boarding schools. They make full use of their location in outdoor stuff. Not sure about performing arts. Sports facilities excellent.

I've heard only negatives about Millfield.

redhotfire123 Wed 04-May-16 14:53:24


brightandbeauiful Wed 04-May-16 14:57:00

Any reflections on Monkton Combe near Bath?

brightandbeauiful Wed 04-May-16 14:58:59

or Monmouth?

semideponent Wed 04-May-16 15:02:42

I think of Monkton as more evangelical-inclined. But I don't know more than that and I might be wrong. I do know they used to have an RC housemaster, who left several years ago.

mary21 Wed 04-May-16 15:20:29

West Buckland ? Sherbourne?
West Buckland definatly like outdoor pursuits ten tors etc. However worth checking their full boarders numbers and if all from 1 or 2 countries. Definatly quite a few Chinese.

mary21 Wed 04-May-16 15:23:39

Another point about WestBuckland. It is quite isolated. Ie you can't just wander into town. Where as Sherbourne is a town school.

tavinbloom Wed 04-May-16 15:41:46

Dont bother with mount kelly,boarding totally dominated by foreign cliques and child on swimming scholarships.

Polzeathsummer Fri 05-Aug-16 18:55:37

We had 3 children at Monkton Combe, Bath and I couldn't recommend it enough. Boarding houses run by houseparents rather than House Master so real family feel. Boarders spend a lot of time in the houseparents homes in the evenings and weekends playing games, chatting, BBQs etc. Houses are about 60 pupils and they all know each other. Pastoral care excellent and teachers all very approachable, kind and encouraging. They want the best for your child. So many opportunities for a small boarding school (around 400) and lots of activities going on at weekends. Some prefer to stay at school rather than go home. Christian ethos is apparent but by no means over bearing. Christian Union is student led and about 80 pupils attend each week through choice. Fantastic new Art block recently opened. Pupils seem to gain friends for life from here. Worth every penny

LockedOutOfMN Sun 07-Aug-16 19:27:55

Heard great things about Ampleforth from students at my school (British international school in Europe, with some boarders and other day students) who've been there for a year.

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